Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with mental health issues and substance use. Having a substance use disorder increases the risk of overdose (OD). Research on ACEs and risk of OD is limited. This study examined the relationship between ACE scores and a self-reported history of OD among patients in an addiction and mental health outpatient setting.
This single-center, cross-sectional design included adults in a dual-diagnosis addiction and mental health outpatient recovery and treatment program from November 2017 to August 2020.
Of the 115 participants, 26 (22.6%) reported a past OD at intake. The mean ACE score for participants with an OD history, as compared with those with no history of OD, was 4.0 (standard deviation, 2.7) vs 2.3 (standard deviation, 2.2). In the multivariable regression, a higher ACE score was associated with history of OD (adjusted odds ratio, 1.23; 95% confidence interval, 1.00–1.50; P = 0.0456).
Given the observed association between OD and higher ACE scores, patients presenting for treatment in outpatient dual-diagnosis clinics should be screened for ACEs and OD history, providing the opportunity for treatment with trauma-informed care and/or referral to appropriate services.